Pat’s petition may fail because good people did nothing

As I type this, the petition calling on the government to “stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families”, informally known as “Pat’s Petition”, which requires 100,000 signatures to secure a debate in Parliament, has gained just a few more than 60,000. With less than half a day left (deadline is 10.12am on November 1) it seems likely that it’s not going to make it. I think those who have signed deserve a vote of thanks. If you are…

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Internet surveillance plan will extend – not create – a communications ‘police state’

Government monitoring of our mail and phone messages has been going on for years, and Theresa May’s plan to monitor every UK citizen’s online activity is merely an extension of this. It’s still an unwarranted invasion of our privacy, but when has any government ever let that stop it? According to the BBC, the current government’s plans mean service providers will have to store details of internet use in the UK for a year, to allow police and intelligence services to access it. It will include for the first time…

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Living under the threat of welfare ‘reform’

If I could force Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs, politicians, and supporters to read what follows, I would. It was sent to me today in response to my article, Bedroom tax will put people on streets while homes go empty, and details exactly what the author – a fellow blogger going by the monicker Clarebelz – expects will happen to her after the bedroom tax and other so-called welfare ‘reforms’ come into effect, starting in April 2013. This is not fiction. It is what this person expects to become her…

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Omnishambles, omnishambles, omnishambles

Before the general election in 2010, David Cameron reminded us that Tony Blair had summed up his ambitions in three words, “Education, education, education”, then said he could manage his in three letters: “N.H.S.” How wrong he was! We now know that the correct three-word slogan would have been: “Omnishambles, omnishambles, omnishambles”! Here’s three examples of Coalition government ineptitude that have fallen onto my desk during this morning alone. 1. The government is having to shred £350,000 worth of ballot papers for the Welsh police and crime commissioner elections after…

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Bedroom tax will put people on streets while homes go empty

By now you should know that you’ll be in financial trouble from April next year, if you receive housing benefit and the government decides you’ve got one or two too many bedrooms. This applies to people who are working but on low pay, who must therefore claim housing benefit in order to keep a roof over their heads. This means it applies to 93 per cent of people who have claimed housing benefit since the Coalition government came to power (only seven per cent of claimants were unemployed). It applies…

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Police move on campaigners for “criminal acts against DWP”

Some of you may be aware that police invaded the home of a campaigner for Disabled People Against Cuts, living in Cardiff, just before midnight yesterday (October 26). Apparently she had been accused of “Criminal acts against the Department for Work and Pensions” – being that she has been highlighting the deaths of sick and disabled people following reassessment by Atos and the DWP for Employment and Support Allowance. No charges were brought against the lady concerned and it is generally considered that this was an act of intimidation. Since…

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Benefits: how much information are the authorities holding back?

The British economy might be out of recession but the Coalition cuts regime marches ever onward – especially if you are claiming – or lucky enough to be receiving – the much-maligned Employment and Support Allowance. (It was never about dealing with our economic difficulties, you see. It was always about shrinking the state and cutting the number of people dependent on it for their living – by one method or another). The latest wheeze among Job Centre Plus staff appears to be the practice of missing out important information…

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Bettison’s resignation shows yet again the double standards of our justice system

Sir Norman Bettison’s resignation as chief constable of West Yorkshire Police has infuriated me. You might be surprised at this. You probably think it’s exactly what he should have done after he was accused, in Parliament, of boasting about fabricating stories to blame Liverpool supporters for the Hillsborough disaster, while he was serving with South Yorkshire Police in 1989. I’m not angry about that. I’m angry because the Independent Police Complaints Commission released a statement after Bettison’s announcement, saying that it will continue to investigate his alleged part in the…

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Who is this overprivileged loon who thinks senior citizens are a burden on the state?

So some gangrenous cadaver calling himself Lord Bichard reckons pensioners should do community work or lose their benefit, does he? He thinks this will stop them from being a “burden on the state”, according to the BBC website. If I were a pensioner, I would have got straight on a bus for the House of Lords to demand that he be de-throned, de-frocked or dis-ennobled – whatever it takes to strip him of the title he so clearly doesn’t deserve. These “burdens on the state” have contributed something like a…

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